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dasherhalo

Vinyl upgrade

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OK, so I’m trying to figure out the best way to move forward with my turntable upgrade. Here’s the system as is stands:

The Engine Room

·         Electrocompaniet Pre-amp EC 4.7

·         Electrocompaniet DAC ECD 1

·         Electocompaniet AW180 monoblocks x 2

·         Focal Utopia Mini’s

·         Sennsheiser Momentum heaphones (out of soundcard)

Current Sources:

·         Asus Xonar STX II Soundcard, for PC-based music

·         Rotel RCD-9658X CD Player

·         Rega P1 with Ortofon OMB 5E, via NAD PP1

 

So… yeah. Due to a number of factors, I’m suffering a severe imbalance between my source components and the rest of the system. I’m not worried about my CD stage at the moment – quality CD spinners pop up all the time. What I’m unhappy with is the analogue section, and I’m stuck.

Replacement turntable is easy: I’ve got a soft spot for either the Clear Audio Concept, or the Rega RP6 as a starting point. Given I’m in Cairns, and there aren’t any HiFi stores left to hire to set up a turntable properly, I’m (80%) leaning towards the Concept’s proven “out of the box” performance, but either will do. Will run the manufacturer-suggested MM cartridges with either ‘table. Tweaks really aren’t my thing.

The next step is the phono pre-amp, and then moving on to the headphone side of things.

Here’s where I change my mind 10 times a day: trying to fit in my headphone stage.

a.       Look for a phono pre-amp with a good headphone amp built-in, or

b.       Look for a phono pre-amp with dual outputs, and run a dedicated headphone amp off one of the outputs.

c.       Get a straight phono pre-amp and then run a dedicated headphone amp off one of the tape loops on the EC 4.7 Pre

I’d say the speaker side of things is more important to me than the headphones

Note here: the Sennheiser’s don’t play well with a lot of headphone amps, and will be replaced when required.

 

Budget – I'm not even looking at anything above $2000, but would like to keep it to around $1500. Some of the items on my shopping list include:

The Primare R32. The Rega Aria. Clear Audio Basic +. Something like the Graham Slee Audio Accession has the selectable dual outputs. The Pro-Ject Phono Box RS has XLR and RCA outputs (either/or)- I could use the XLR plugs into the EC pre, and swap the DAC/Pre interconnects from XLR to RCA.

Whilst I’m buying new with the turntable, I’m more than happy to purchase the phono pre-amp second hand.

 

Option A probably limits the range, and the quality of the headphone stage. Saves cash

Option B limits the range of phono pre's available, without limiting the headphone amp options

Options C gives the best range to choose from, but are there any drawbacks of running a dedicated headphone amp out of a tape loop on the EC Pre?

 

Looking for suggestions and opinions please!

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Hi dasherhalo,

 

If you're not already aware, check out the Slee Loaner Program here which allows you to trial the GSP phono stages and headphone amps in your own system.............no better way really to audition equipment.

 

If you're interested, drop me a PM and we can organise to include you in the Loaner Program.

 

Cheers,

 

Keith

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Thank you

 

I had certainly considered it. I'll speak to you when the TT is finalised!

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My suggestion is join a turntable online community like the analog dept.Ask questions and learn as much as you can. Wait,

save a few more sheckles then take a weeks holiday in Sydney or Melbourne.

Audition audition audition. Listen to some high end gear above your budget  so when you find something that hints or reminds you of that high end gear you know you are onto a winner. Quite a few manufacturers like Rega Thorens & Clearaudio offer package deals @ significantly reduced prices. S/H can be both a goldmine and a nightmare. If you know to avoid the pitfalls it can pay off handsomely in far higher performance for your dollar. The simplest solution may be upgrade to Ortofon M series cart as your current cart is the weakest link in your system (like the bronze & you can fit a black replacement stylus as an upgrade when it wears out.) Then find someone competent to add a headphone jack to your Electro pre. Simples!

Cheers

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I'd get rid of the Rega P1. They are absolute crap.( My experience):). Keep the NAD for the time being and look for a second hand table.

Quite a few around of good quality for $1500. Put this topic on the Turntable/ Vinyl Forum as well. Guys on there are always upgrading and a lot of knowledgeable people on there.

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Just a couple of thoughts, if settled on using manufacturer MM cartridges, the Rega Exact is a doddle to set up with its 3 screw mounting and no adjustment of VTA required on a Rega deck.

The Clearaudio MM cartridges are somewhat of a user hazard with their long protruding cantilevers, I know of a few that have caused their owners grief.

A dedicated headphone amp should work quite well from the tape out of the pre or from your soundcard.

Again if arranging a loan from Keith try one of the GSP headphone amps from your pre and see if there are any issues.  The Solo especially is a ripping headphone amp IMO.

I would get a decent digital stylus force guage.

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Update: have just managed to score a Plinius Koru phono pre as a trade for something - completely freeing up the cash I'd put aside for the pre-amp.

 

That simplifies my choices somewhat. I'll look at option C.

 

That opens up my TT choices somewhat - now in the $3-4k range

 

Edited by dasherhalo

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VPI Scout fits the budget nicely. 

 

Purchase your cart from the same dealer and ask them to set up for you before shipping. Then all you have to do is level the TT and place the arm on the spike plug it into the junction box and thats it!

 

I had a VPI Classic 1 and sold it :emot-bang: 

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Looks like its gone. Guy was in Melbourne too.

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On 07/03/2017 at 6:29 PM, dasherhalo said:

Update: have just managed to score a Plinius Koru phono pre as a trade for something - completely freeing up the cash I'd put aside for the pre-amp.

 

That simplifies my choices somewhat. I'll look at option C.

 

That opens up my TT choices somewhat - now in the $3-4k range

 

 

Just make sure you choose a cart which delivers its best sound at one of the loadings offered by the 'Koru' - which if it's a LOMC are:

  • 47k, 22k, 1k, 470, 220, 100, 47, 22 ohms

 

Regards,

Andy

 

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Good point ^^^^^ I've read good things of this phono but never considered if it was MM or MC.

Sent from my SM-G930F using Tapatalk

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keep the nad, sell the koru, buy the rp8 and a nice cartridge.

 

;)

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Personally I'd buy one of the EAT turntables on 30% off from CAV. Like the C-Sharp. 

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If you can wait, there are always great turntables coming up for sale on here. 

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Only using an OM5 !!?  That's base level.  How about a Stylus 30 from JICO ffor $60 and if you still want a new TT then you can move it across.

 

I know this is a bit opposite for around here.  Start simple.  Move from there.

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